By Rory L. Aronsky | December 5, 2004

Post-face stuffing entertainment on Thanksgiving is an extremely dicey issue. Most people, myself included, actually have spare time, away from the worries and warts of work and school. So, in searching for a movie to watch, “Vendetta” seemed like a viable choice. Besides having to review it eventually, it had the “Troma” label attached to it and “Troma” stands for a lot, what with the “Toxic Avenger” films and lots more twisted entertainment. Why Troma picked “Vendetta” for DVD distribution is peculiar, considering that it contains three red herrings, two typical car chases, the usual gunshot wounds, and the standard amount of curse words expected from a film of revenge, or rather the revenge of a serial killer who engages in dick slicing.

The main man of the story is detective Jack Mason (George Saunders) whose 10-year old daughter, Tina, was raped and killed, her loss leading to his wife Jennifer (Vanessa Giorgio) divorcing him, because in her eyes, it was his fault for allowing her to go alone a block and a half to a pet store to pick up food for her pigeon. Yes, a pigeon. Nothing normal like a parakeet or a squawky foul-mouthed parrot, but a pigeon. Besides the penis chopping, it’s another way “Vendetta” dares to be different. The story starts a year later during the time that men are suddenly found handcuffed, dead, with severed ding-dongs and Jack is on the case. Despite everything, he’s taking life as best he can.

Fans of guns, sex, big holes in people’s stomachs, and ricocheting bullets will appreciate the beginning which has Jack charging upon a smarmy-looking guy, demanding his signature on a written testimony which looks like a raggedy piece of paper. Jack’s the tough go-getter-without-backup. He’s the lone cop you don’t want on your trail, or at least that’s how writer/director/actor George Saunders likes to tell it. The serial killer, on the other hand, turns out to be a woman, on a mission of some kind of revenge. Why? For whom? It doesn’t actually matter, regretfully, because by the 26-minute mark, it’s easy to tell who the suspect is and it’s just a matter of when she’s going to be found out. Saunders is quite a nervy fellow, satisfied with clichéd lines such as, “Penny for your thoughts” after sex between Jack and his ex (which is not an entirely pleasant viewing experience with how long it goes on for, complete with “somber” music), and three red herrings which are immensely annoying. When done right, red herrings can really knock you for a surprising loop, which can easily strengthen a mystery movie, if not overdone. Here, it only serves to point and laugh at an audience’s sudden confusion, if any viewer actually falls for this. Saunders also loves tough places, such as where his character shows up at the beginning and at the common “seedy bar”, which includes the expected sexy long-legged senorita, but she ends up turning into the sexy long-legged “fighting” senorita.

“Vendetta” just doesn’t work. Watch enough cop movies, films with vigilantes, revenge, and just plain vengeance, and you’ll know exactly where it winds up. The only saving grace on this DVD are the trailers
for other Troma releases. “Citizen Toxie” and “Tales From the Crapper”
look completely whacked out, but at least they make no bones about what they are. Oh yes, and the introduction to the film cannot be forgotten
either. It’s as good as Robert Osborne’s introductions on Turner Classic Movies, but a hell of a lot more disturbed. That’s the way cinema should be sometimes, but “Vendetta” does nothing new. It only recycles and that’s not good in this case

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